NUMBER OF POLITICAL PRISONERS GROWS AS 4 MORE PROTESTERS CONVICTED; RULING TO UPHOLD SHAHIN HASANLI’S SENTENCE POLITICALLY UPHOLDING THE VERDICT ON SHAHIN HASANLI IS POLITICAL ORDER
Human Rights Club (HRC) strongly condemns 3 October decision to sentence Musavat Party Central Administration Head Arif Hajili, Musavat party youth committee head Tural Abbasli, and Azerbaijan Popular Front Party department head Mahammad Majidli to 2.5 years in jail, and APFP deputy head Fuad Gahramanli to 2 years of conditional arrest. The Human Rights Club condemns these decisions and the 3 October ruling of Ganja Appeals Court to uphold the 2-year prison sentence of APFP activist Shahin Hasanli, as political orders.
HRC states that numerous legal violations were committed in the trial of the 4 opposition activists arrested for their involvement in 2 April protest. For example, most of motions filed by the lawyers of the opposition activists were not granted, the witnesses gave disputed testimonies, serious evidence shortcomings were uncovered in the investigation, and video footages clearly collaborated the side of the defendants.
HRC declares that the first instance court’s decision to sentence Shahin Hasanli to 2 years in jail and the legal violations uncovered during the monitoring of court proceedings demonstrated that the sentence was the outcome of a political order. Yesterday’s decision by the Ganja Appeals Court once again confirmed these claims.
HRC believes that these arrests are aimed at restricting freedom of assembly, silencing opposition and young activists, and increasing the sense of fear in the society. The Azerbaijani authorities’ position in these cases is an indicator of their intolerance against dissenting opinion and shows that on the eve of Azerbaijan’s October 18th 20th anniversary of independence and 8 months before hosting the 2012 Eurovision song contest, they don’t intend to abide by local and international legislation.
Human rights club was founded on December 10, 2010, by a group of human rights defenders, including Idrak Abbasov, Emin Huseynov, Sabuhi Gafarov, Rasul Jafarov, Zohrab Ismayilov, Natig Jafarli, and others.